Article from USA Today, Part 3
The African hunting dog
Tues., March 9, 1999
* Scientific name: Lycaon pictus
* Numbers: About 3,000 in all of sub-Saharan Africa;
in the hundreds in east Africa.
* At Mkomazi: Arrived in 1995 after area Masai tribesmen
agreed to let the Adamson Trusts take a few dozen puppies from underground
dens; 42 dogs now live in four pens on the reserve.
* Reputation: Considered killer pests by the pastoral
Masai, the dogs' decline is the result of a combination of disease,
run-ins with man (they are commonly shot or poisoned) and depletion
of prey (their food includes gazelles and impalas).
* Characteristics: A powerful but lithe body sloping
gently at the hindquarters. Their coats are mottled, a combination of
white, brown and gold. Oversized ears. Rather than bark, they chirp
when agitated. They live in burrows underground.
* Habits: Pack animals with extremely complex hierarchies
reminiscent of wolves, they're led by an alpha female. Capable of sustaining
hunting speeds of 30 mph for hours, they kill prey by tiring them out
and attacking en masse.
* The future: Fitzjohn hopes to slowly reintroduce the
species to the wild after negotiating with the Tanzanian government,
which controls access to massive uninhabited expanses such as the Serengeti
and Masai Mara plains.
USA TODAY articles: Part 1 | Part
2 | Part 3
Copyright 1999, USA TODAY. Reprinted with permission.
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